Monday, March 19, 2012

Yarn Project Numero Uno. A New "Twist" on an Old One.

Before I get to my first yarn project, I feel I need to share some awful, horrible, heartbreaking, tear-jerking news with you.  mini broke my camera.  Yep.  Just pulled it right off the table.  Stinker.  It's irreparable and I'm (obviously and understandably) devastated.  I have no backup other than my phone.  Why do I tell you this?  Well, first because I want your commiseration and sympathy.  But also because I now have a legitimate reason for awful pictures, and not just "ah, the lighting is so horrible in Wisco in the winter..."  For the next (shrugs shoulders to indicate uncertain length of time) you will be subjected to a combination of phone photos slash Dad's old camera photos.  It's unfortunate, but true.

On with the show!

Yarn Project Number One:  How to dress your neck on the cheap.

This baby is actually an updated, more modern, less chunky, cuter version of last year's, seen here.

And you make it in much the same way.  With some key differences.  So I'll just show the whole thing over again, for those of you who missed it the first time.

You'll start by "measuring" out your length.  I do this very scientifically by holding the yarn around my neck, looking down at it and thinking, "hm, that looks about right..." You can use whatever method you want.

So after you determine what length you want your necklace, you'll triple that measurement before you cut.  Do you hear me??  BEFORE.  Because if you triple it AFTER you cut, it's too late.

So actually, it's more like this length, and less like the length you actually measured:

And THEN you'll cut two more the same length, so you have three strands that are triple the length that you originally thought you'd by cutting.  Three.  Triple.  Trio.  Tres.  

And then you braid them.  Now, I don't want to assume anything about anyone (because you know what assuming does!... (I said that to my husband once when we were just dating and he was like, "uh... makes you guess stuff?" and I was all "???")) BUT, we're just going to - for the sake of needing to make an ACTUAL tutorial here - going to um... GUESS that you don't know how to braid.  Because you know, maybe someone out there doesn't.  AND THAT'S OKAY.  ("not that there's anything WRONG with that...")
So.  You will first tie a knot in the end of your three strands - much like the knot pictured below, minus the braid that is below it since you haven't braided anything yet... whoops.

Take a clip of some sort (safety pin, large magnetic clip, etc) and secure the knotted end of the three strands to something sturdy - something that won't move around.  Like my leg.  You know THAT'S not going anywhere...

For the sake of this tutorial I will henceforth refer to the strands as 1, 2 and C.  I bet you thought I was going to say 3, didn't you?  And yes, I did just use henceforth in everyday conversation.  Isn't that normal?
So, you'll separate 1, 2 and C, in that order.

You will take 1 and cross it OVER 2.

Then you will take C and cross it over 1.

And THEN you will take 2 and cross it over C.

And just keep taking the outside strand and crossing it over the middle strand, alternating sides.  Like so:

Ok, so these strands are about 500 million feet long, give or take a few orders of magnitude. So that is really hard to braid.  Here's a tip I bet you already thought of.  Take your strands and ball them up (you can make actual little yarn balls if you like order and stuff... ha!)  Then as you braid, you hold the outside two balls in your hands and just move the strand all at once in the ball.  No tangles or knots!

And because you knotted the end, when you get to a point where it's uncomfortable to braid because your arms to bend that direction and your elbows are back by your ears, you can carefully lay your braid down, unclip, move the braid up to where you're currently working, and reclip.  Voila!
When you're finished braiding the whole thing, you'll tie a another knot in the other end.  And you'll have one long, skinny braid.

You'll need to know one other type of "braid" for this necklace - which technically isn't a braid because it only involves one strand of yarn.  It's a twist.

Cut your yarn to the desired length.  Clip the end.  Start twisting.  And twisting, and twisting.

I could make a lame joke here, about "work it out, baby now..." but I won't.  So twist it.  The whole strand is completely twisted as much as it will twist without going all wonky.
At that point, find the center of the strand with your other hand, hold that point and bring the end of the strand in your  twisting hand to the end of the strand that's clipped.  Let go of the midpoint, but hand on to the ends.  And your yarn will SPROING all up like a twisty little spring thing.  And yes, this entire past paragraph uses completely technical terms, thanks for asking.

You don't even have to tie a knot in the end to make it stay.  Pretty cool, huh?

You will use a combination of the above methods to create the strands in your multi-strand necklace.  For my necklace, I used my super, duper long skinny braid, three single strand twists, two DOUBLE strand twists (just cut two strands the same length and twist them together and THEN fold in half.  It makes a slightly thicker twist), a twisted then braided strand (which is three single twists that I braided together - just like it sounds...) and a braided then twisted strand (which is three yarn pieces I braided together into a skinny braid, which I then twisted - again, just like it sounds...)  I love stating the obvious. You can use any/all/some if these in any number/combination you would like/desire to.

Lay your strands out in an aesthetically pleasing way.  For my extra long skinny braid, I folded it up in fourths to make it the length I wanted for the necklace.  So, yes, I could have used four separately braided skinny braids, but one folded up seemed easier.  I laid mine out so it was: twist, twisted braid, double twist, double twist, braid, braid, braid, braid, braid, braid, twist, twist, braided twists.  If you wanted that information... there really is no right way to lay them out.  I promise.  Also, I may have typed an extra braid up there but now I'm not sure.

Once you have them laid out in a way you like, use some yarn or heavy duty thread (or embroidery floss, or twine, or cording... there are a lot of things you could use, really) to tie all the ends together on one side, and then all the ends together on the other side.

After they are all tied together, get out some thick, pliable jewelry wire.  Start winding around the ends.  Start just below the little piece of yarn with the end of the wire laying parallel to the yarn so you can wind around both the end of the wire and the little piece of yarn.  How many times can I write little piece of yarn here?  Apparently three.

Wind, wind, wind.  Pull the wire as tightly as you can to really keep the yarn strands together.  Make sure to wind in an orderly fashion.  Once you've wound the wire up about an inch and 1/2 (ish) make a little loop in the wire so that it sticks out the end.  Then wind a little more around to secure the loop.  

To finish off your wire, just use a pliers to pinch the end into the coiled wire.  If you use large gauge wire, it should stay really tight.  Then clip the excess wire off and trim all of the yarn pieces.

Do this on both ends.

Now, at this point, you've made the front HALF of your necklace.  You need a chain to finish it off.  So, measure out how much chain you need.  (again, I used the holding it up to my neck approach, but use whatever you're comfortable with.)  Once you have the length of chain for around the back of your neck, cut the chain in half.  Attach one half of the chain to one end of the wire wrapped yarn strands with a jump ring.  Attach the other half of the chain  to the other end of the wire wrapped yarn strands with another jump ring.

On one of the pieces of chain, you'll need to attach a clasp.  I chose a simple lobster clasp - it's up to you.  Attach your clasp to the end of the chain with a jump ring.

So now your necklace looks like this:

IF you are looking at your necklace through a bad phone camera, that is.

And when you wear it?  It looks a lot like this:

That photo has much truer color.  I decided to use yarn in a variegated pastel tone.  I thought that was appropriate for Spring.  Obviously you can use a solid color or two solid colors together, or what have you.  

I mean, it's yarn.  The possibilities are endless.

You did go check out Shannon's project, right?  I have it on good authority you don't want to miss it.

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!


Michelle L. said...

I love this, K! The variegated yarn makes it so sweet. The braiding tutorial: you are a champ for putting it up for the braiding newbies! The finished ends are really nice - I am always looking for ways to corral ends of things, definitely need to give that a try!

Christina said...

your necklace is beautiful...I love the yarn you chose!

Thanks so much for linking to "20 Below Thursday"! :)

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